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Archive for the ‘Kilts’ Category

A Win for the Kilt

Posted by Adam Graham on January 10, 2006

From the AP, the Nathan Warmack saga is over. If you recall, Nathan had been told to change by his principal, Rick McLard when he showed up at a high school dance. I’ve blogged about this before here and here.

The long and short of it is that Nathan got an apology from the school and a pledge from the Superintendent to give more training to staff enforcing the dress code. With that, they’ll be no legal action and he’ll be able to wear the kilt to the prom.

I have to say that this has been quite an interesting case for a lot of reasons. The first is the amount attention it garnered. This type of thing has happened in the news before. Someone from the Utilikilts company pointed out that this happened a short four and a half years ago when a student wore a Black Utilikilt (not the same thing I know) to his prom and was put on in-school suspension for two days. From that to an apology is quite a turn around. You can expect more kids wearing kilts to their prom next year and in years to come, mark my words.


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New Developments in the Missouri Kilt Controversy

Posted by Adam Graham on January 7, 2006

Found this via Legal Advice and its a pretty interesting development in the kilt controversy down in Missouri. I blogged about this previously but had seen no one had done any follow up on the latest development from this AP story:

A southeast Missouri student who was told to change out of his kilt at a high school dance can wear the garment to future school functions, a lawyer for the district said.

“He can wear that kilt to school if he wants, to the prom, to a basketball game,” Jackson school district lawyer Steve Wright said Friday.

But Wright cited one exception. Though he said it’s not anticipated, student Nathan Warmack could be asked to change if the kilt-wearing somehow resulted in a problem or disruption.

This has been going on for 1 1/2 months and the school’s trying to get this to go away. What their also doing from a legal perspective is getting a policy in place that’s in compliance with a Supreme Court ruling saying that “student’s freedom of expression in school must be protected unless it would seriously interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline.” See here for more. The school is trying to limit legal liability.

=> Read more!

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The Kilt Kultural Divide

Posted by Adam Graham on December 26, 2005

In my last post on the Nathan Warmack matter I alluded to the fact that both left and right were unhappy with the school’s decision. That’s not to say that both sides understand this in the exact same way.

There’s a Petititon on this matter made up by the Clan Gunn society that’s garnered more than 10,000 signatures. Here’s an excerpt of the petititon:

These politically correct times in which we live require us to
accept many “alternative” attitudes. They are shoved down our
throats daily. We have to accept Ebonics, gender-sensitive language
and behavior, alternative lifestyles, and reverse discrimination to
name just a few. We are EXPECTED to show tolerance for everyone who
chooses “break the mold.”

Given that the object here is to get as many signatures as possible, this probably shouldn’t have been in the petition. Shakespeare’s Sister took issue with it:

Here’s a better question: How could a group that seeks to support free expression and pride in one’s heritage moan incessantly about the “PC expectations” of accepting others’ culture and choices? Yeesh.

I’m not positive, but I think Clan Gunn may be a sept of Klan McKuKlux.

Of course, the last line is somewhat unfair. But the left rarely practices understanding or thoughtful analysis of the right. Why bother when knee jerk assessments are so easily available?

Our culture encourages you to celebrate your culture and who you are provided you’re not a male of European descent. There are a lot of textbooks out there, and a lot of teachers who teach a one-sided history to make that heritage look shameful and disgraceful.

Really, I think that a lot of what has made the kilt so popular, here in the 21st Century has been a desire to discover something that people sense have been lost. So, the point (though poorly stated in the petition) is that if everyone else’s heritage and culture is going to be honored with special heritage months, why is it that Nathan Warmack’s heritage is dismissed as being clownish.

As a commenter observed on The Anchoress:

The linebacker should have said: “I’m not in a kilt, I’m in drag. Now leave me alone before I call the ACLU!!”

Of course, there’s a difference between alternate lifestyles and culture. Also, ebonics is a philosophy of teaching English and I seriously doubt that any school outside of Oakland has had to deal with it, so I don’t think it even really belonged in the petition.

Now, the way that Shakespeare’s sister comes at this shows how differently liberals view the issue:

The old “it would be disruptive” canard is undoubtedly etymologically linked to the first ever high school principal. “Oog, that dangly bone you’ve affixed to your loincloth may be aesthetically pleasing to you, but has the potential to distract other students. Please go immediately to the poo cave and remove it.” Mohawks, dredlocks, hair dye, piercings, revealing clothes, politically-charged t-shirts, skirts that scandalously revealed an inch of ankle, women’s trousers…each has, in its own time, been designated as a distraction from the learning process. Nowadays, it’s corn rows and hijabs. I daresay the controversy caused by prinipals intervening in students’ clothing and fashion choices goes a lot further in providing a distraction than the actual styles ever do.

So to Conservatives the issue is wrapped up in things like culture and tradition, to liberals its more a reaction against authority figures bullying people and interferring in student’s choice of clothing.

Thus, coming at it from two different viewpoints, we reach the same conclusion. Weird, huh?

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That Kilt’s Distracting…Lets Start a Global Battle Instead

Posted by Adam Graham on December 26, 2005

This story’s been out there for a while, but I’ve had other things going on. I thought I’d missed my chance, but the story is still alive almost a month after the incident that prompted it. Lets start off with the facts of the case, from AP we have this story:

Nathan Warmack wanted to honor his heritage by wearing a Scottish kilt to his high school dance. Then a principal told him to change into a pair of pants…

He bought a kilt off the Internet to wear to his school’s formal “Silver Arrow” dance in November. Warmack said he showed it to a vice principal before the dance, who joked he’d better wear something underneath it, and Warmack assured him he would.

After Nathan Warmack and his date posed for pictures, principal Rick McClard, who had not previously seen the kilt, told the student he had to go change. Warmack refused a few times and said the outfit was recognizing his heritage.

Warmack alleges McClard told him: “Well, this is my dance, and I’m not going to have students coming into it looking like clowns.” McClard later said he had no recollection of saying that, Warmack’s dad said. The principal did not return phone calls seeking comment.

The school district’s superintendent, Ron Anderson, said McClard has the authority under the district’s dress code policy to judge appropriate dress for extracurricular activities, including dances.

A disruption? You mean like a festering global controversy centering around your school? THAT type of disruption. Oh no, you meant somebody might see Mr. Warmack in his kilt and think it looked odd. Oh, that’s the type of disruption you were trying to avoid. Glad to know they’ve got their priorities straight.

Also, note here, he checked with the vice-principal and everything appeared to be copacetic. So, The Bear Cave was clearly wrong in saying on his blog, “I don’t belive (sic) for a minute that the kid wore a kilt “…to honor his heritage…”. He wanted to cause a ruckus.)” Clearly not.

In fact, other than Bear Cave, I strain to find a sympathetic voice in the Blogosphere for the Principal’s position. Even Live Journal people have gotten to commenting on this and they rarely comment on the news. According to the Scotsman, an online poll of 19000 people was done and 95% supported Warmack wearing the kilt.

The principal has managed to get The Anchoress AND Shakespeare’s Sister to agree on an issue. Now, the story does note this isn’t the first time in American School history that this has come up:

Other schools around the country also have wrestled with the issue. A principal in Victoria, Texas, ordered two boys into “more appropriate” attire when they wore kilts to school in 1992, saying: “I know kilts. Those weren’t kilts and the boys aren’t Scots.”

In 1993, a student in Fayette County, Ga., was not allowed to enter his prom at McIntosh High School because he showed up in a kilt and refused to change clothes.

There was also a story last May. It ended with the school looking bad and the kid being a hero among a lot of Scottish groups. One thing it notes in the story about Warmack’s kilt interest:

He got interested in his family’s Scottish ties after seeing Mel Gibson’s 1995 movie “Braveheart,” about William Wallace’s battle to overthrow English rule in 13th century Scotland. Warmack reads books about Scotland and visits Web sites to learn more about his family’s genealogy.

Key point is that these two other cases occurred before Braveheart. I think Braveheart put a sea change in terms of the way our society views the kilt. On the cusp of Braveheart, you had the beginning of Casual Kilt companies around the turn of this century. Utilikilts (hardly traditional) have sold more than 30,000 kilts (and click here to see employeeds that’ve been allowed to wear their Utilikilts to work) and of course we at King Kilts have sold a few. Now, in our country, more guys own a kilt than ever before.

As someone who’s worn a kilt every day for almost 2 years, I get into a lot of conversations. I’m often told things like, “That reminds me of my friend who wore one to his wedding.” In short, wearing a kilt is no big deal.

As Watcher pointed out, the school may be opening itself up to legal liability:

But, this issue does boil down to a First Amendment right to expression. Again, my right to wear a shirt that says “Jesus is Lord” on it is just as protected as the rights of a guy to wear a kilt.

In Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School (1969), the court said that a student’s freedom of expression in school must be protected unless it would seriously interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline. (My definition of what “interferes with appropriate discipline” would be if a student was trying to express himself or herself by destroying or defacing school property. Cursing a school official also falls into the “interference” of the educational process.)

He’s going to have a hard time showing this interferred with “appropriate discipline.” At this point, the Principal would be well-advised to quit while he’s behind, apologize and let the Warmack wear his kilt to the prom without making a big fuss.

According to a poster on a Kilt Board, some settlement may be in the works that would avoid legal action. You certainly would hope that this wouldn’t go any further.

Others Blogging on this:
Thursday’s Trifles
Book of Joe

Open Trackback Posts:

The Uncooperative Blogger.
Third World County
Bloggin’ Out Loud

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The Kilted One Speaks

Posted by Adam Graham on November 28, 2005

I’m loathe to make this post. I’ve been pleased by the resurgence of kilts in America. A lot of companies have cashed in on the trend. My wife’s made a little money on the kilt phenomena. Its been going on for five years, and many companies such as Utilikilts have been successful.

Of course, this hasn’t pleased everyone. Some people are simply insecure. Others think kilts should be 8 yards, wool, worn with Ghillie Brogues, and a sgien dubh in the boot. These people are commonly known as snobs.

I’m fairly open to different innovations in kilts, as long as they adhere to the traditional kilt design (pleated in the back and unpleated in the front), about knee length. If you someone designs something thats midcalf or comes to mid-thigh, unpleated, or pleated all around, you’re not buying a kilt, you’re buying a skirt. Other than that, have fun.

To expect that kilts look exactly the same as they did 400 years ago, particularly as many companies Americanize them is absurd. Time marches on, progress happens to everything. Pants are made of different materials now than they were a few hundreds year ago, why should kilts never change?

As someone with strong Scottish heritage, I welcome any man wearing a kilt. I don’t believe you have to be Scottish to wear a kilt, any more than you have to be Japanese to wear a Komono, or a cowboy to wear blue jeans. Its a tribute to Scottish culture that its being adapted, not disrespect. Its definitely far more comfortable and has some distinct advantages. Kilts are great for walking in, they don’t rip out, and they force you into conversations with strangers.

Having said that, there’s still some rules of good taste and common sense. I went through some threads on Technorati and found this was lacking in some kilt wearers. So, with some experience (and some lessons learned the hard way), I’ll share some tips for those of you new to kilts :

1) Make Adjustments

In a kilt, you learn to do things differently. To avoid discomfort for yourself and others, watch the way you sit and pick things up. Make necessary adjustments. If you’re only wearing it for a wedding or a highlands game, practice sitting and kneeling, so that you find a comfortable and modest posture.

2) Pick a look and stick with it

There’s more than one way to wear a kilt kilt. My tartan kilts can be worn casually, business casual, professionally, or for a more traditional ethnic look.

For anything but the “ethnic look” one of the best approaches is to forget the kilt (except for its basic colors) and add what you’d normally wear:

For a real casual look, you might wear a t-shirt or a sweat shirt that doesn’t clash with the kilt, along with sandals. Business casual, something button down (including a polo shirt) goes well with most kilts, along with socks and a decent pair of shoes. For a more professional look, I will go ahead and wear kilt hose, a dress shirt (and depending on the situation, maybe a tie). Ethnic really needs no explanation.

Obviously, there are some things that won’t work for professional dress or even business casual. For example, some of the cheaper kilts are good for walking about town or maybe walking about the highland games, but nothing else.

Whatever you do, DON’T MIX LOOKS. Don’t try to wear a Dirk casually and be cautious about wearing highland gear with a non-traditional kilt. Don’t try and wear a tie with bare legs. Use common sense.

As always, confidence is your greatest accessory. (Oh my gosh, I’m beginning a fashionista.)

3) Make Substitutions When Appropriate:

Wearing a kilt is pretty expensive. (Part of the reason I haven’t bought a new one in a few years.) Here’s some good substitutions that save money:

1) For Casual dress, a fanny pack can work as well as a Sporran.
2) Try using a Short Tuxedo jacket as a substitute for the more expensive Kilt Jackets.
3) There are any number of good substitutes for expensive Kilt Hose that look nice. Over the Calf Socks work. Some Soccer or Baseball socks look pretty good. One tip is don’t wear striped soccer socks with a plaid kilt. It looks really bad.

So, hope you found these tips helpful and happy kilting.

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Kilt Myth Destroyed

Posted by Adam Graham on October 20, 2005

From the Northern Ireland News Letter we learn that Orange historian Clifford Smith is about to right a book demolishing the myth that an English factory owner invented the wee kilt.

The story goes that an English factory owner saw that the Great Kilt (which had a sash attached to the top) was getting in the way of factory work, so he invented a kilt without the sash (called the wee kilt) which is what is most commonly seen these days. Well, Smith’s remarkable story throws the whole issue into doubt:

During his research he found, in the British Museum in London, a tantalising, original German cartoon depicting a Scottish warrrior.

Dated 1690, the warrior is wearing what is unmistakably a kilt, decades before its purported creation.

“The Highland warrior is taken from a much larger cartoon produced by the continental supporters of the Williamite cause at that time,” said Mr Smyth.

“The importance of the figure is that it shows a Scottish soldier in a loosely-pleated, short kilt some 40 years before the short kilt was allegedly invented by two Englishmen, Rawlinson and Parkinson in the year 1727.

Now, the evidence seems pretty clear. The origins of the kilt are not English, but its not going to rewrite the Internet, because there’s a lot more ethnic pride than historic fact tied up in the stories circulating.


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I Was an Item on a Scavenger Hunt

Posted by Adam Graham on October 2, 2005

I was at Wal-Mart and I heard this guy yell out, “Oh my gosh, there’s a guy in a kilt!”

I shook my head and said, “Welcome to Boise.” After 2 years of being here, being on the news twice, in Thrive Magazine and the kilt part being on the front page of the Idaho Statesman, I figure most people had seen it by now.

Anyway, the guy runs up to me and says, “Hi. I’m on a scavenger hunt and you won’t believe this, but one of the things on the list is a man in a kilt.”

He asked to take a picture of me and promised not to post it on the Internet. He took a picture and said, “Okay, I got a picture of your face. If that’s okay?”

I responded, “Well, that’s good, but how will that prove to them I was wearing a kilt?”

“Oh, good point.”

I advised him to step back and get a fuller picture and he did. It actually look like a pretty decent picture at that once he got. Life is interesting and I bet he was the only one who found that item on the scavenger hunt.


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Florida Conservative Jumps Into Kilt Battle

Posted by Adam Graham on May 7, 2005

Mike Thompson had a great article in Human Events on a school’s decision to bar a boy from wearing a kilt to a high school prom. Writes Thompson:

Super Peterka, who is no slave to fashion, ruled that Eric’s painstakingly pleated kilt, consisting of eight yards of high-quality woven wool, was actually–and I am not making this up–a pair of “shorts”! To join his date, Eric was told, he would have to change into a pair of . . . blue jeans! Even non- Scot Levi Strauss spun in his dungaree grave when he heard about the School Super’s super ignorance.

To Eric’s everlasting credit, the young American in Scottish attire said, “No way, and no, thanks!” His assessment of the arbitrary prom-night dress standards by school officials was sharply to the point: “They should be able to accept other cultures and other ideas,” Eric maturely told a Minneapolis television reporter. “That is what education is all about.”

He went on to write:

Besieged laddie Eric Schulzetenberg was dealing not only with the double standard for White European Men, but also the equally double standard for what all men nowadays are expected to wear in public from the waist down. To the question, “Who wears the pants in your family?” the answer is no longer predictable. Since mid-20th-Century revolutions in sex, feminism and selective nonjudgmentalism, most women have relegated their traditional dresses and gowns to mothballed trunks in the attic. Meantime, men can’t even try to distinguish themselves from gals by wearing manly, cowboy-inspired blue-denim jeans, because unisex-crazed ladies have glommed that once-exclusive male fashion statement, too…

Men’s traditional habiliments for eons were robes, togas, tunics, sarongs and other kiltlike garments. Trousers (uneuphonically and derogatorily called trews in Scotland) are a relative newcomer to males’ choice for draping. Come to think of it, that’s why we never see Hollywood period movies depicting Jesus and his Disciples, Roman gladiators, Vikings, Vatican leaders, Buddhist monks, African chieftains, blatantly heterosexual dancing Greeks, Highland Scots and tough-as-nails Albanians, plus countless other men of old, in pants. That devotion to authenticity was one reason actor/director Mel Gibson won an Oscar for Braveheart, the epic film story of Sir William Wallace, Scotland’s most heroic kilt-man, who with his outnumbered, skirted band of warriors smashed King Edward I’s entire English army of pants-wearing fops.

In the interest of full disclosure, I confess that I, a boringly normal Scots-American, just counted in my master clothes closet alone 45 pairs of bifurcated raiments, plus one garment that is uncompromisingly unbifurcated and fashioned from the tastefully rich Thompson dress blue tartan. The first wise guy who orders me to ditch that lone kilt or whistles at me when I put it on, I guarantee, will himself be kilt immediately, with Mel Gibson and The Man Who lives on Ben Nevis as my witnesses to justifiable homicide.

What’s interesting about Thompson’s article is that he’s a former President of the Florida Conservative Union (i.e. a somewhat major Conservative leader.) Its part of a growing trend among Conservatives of Scottish descent to be proud of their heritage and the kilt.

Responses on Free Republic to the article have been overwhelmingly positive:

This school is run by a bunch of friggin’ racists who hate my people. Bottoms up to my fellow Scot in the kilt.

Only real men wear kilts. Before men were neutered, they all wore kilts. Pants are Johnny-come lately. Take a lesson, fellas. Go to a Celtic Faire and watch who the women flock to. Trousers represent the oppression of men, denying them freedom of movement. Also, the establishment fears kilts because they know men conceal weapons under them.

As a frequent wearer of the kilt, I’d like to see someone tell me I wasn’t appropriately dressed for such a function.

-This type of diversity has made liberals squeamish. As Thompson mentioned the principal was the one who forbade the kilt, and as a group they tend to be notoriously left wing. I think a lot of this goes back to the movie Braveheart and the growing kilt trend. For a lot of folks, that’s where it started in terms of interest in the Highland Games and Kilts and the movie was far more popular with conservatives than liberals.

Of course, there were liberals who liked it because its a great movie, just like Conservatives liked Babe or other movies that come from a liberal perspective because there well-made good quality movies.

Of course, fact detectors will point out that the costuming in Braveheart was historically inaccurate, but at one level it doesn’t matter. What Braveheart did for a lot of people is create an association with the kilt for a lot of people with virtues like courage, integrity, honor, and patriotic nationalism. That’s why even the non-kilt wearing conservatives are defending it.

Part of it is also the idea that European heritages can be celebrated in a way that’s not disrespectful to minorities, but still shows pride in ancestry and where we’ve come from.

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Back to the 18th Century for Cambridge

Posted by Adam Graham on March 26, 2005

The Glasgow Daily Record reports that Cambridge University is banning students from wearing the kilt during graduation excercises.

The Article says:

Instead, men must wear the traditional English formal dress of a morning suit and white bow tie.

So not only do they ban the kilt, they require the graduates to dress like dorks. Cambridge’s decision is a throwback to the Highland Dress Act which banned the wearing of kilts in England for decades.

One observation. Cambridge and many American universities have abandonned the most important philisophical and spiritual traditions which helped them produce great men. Why is it that human beings hang on only to the most insignificant traditions while what matters most perishes.

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Kilt Day

Posted by Adam Graham on November 14, 2004

Today, apparently was “React to the Kilt” day. I don’t think I got so many reactions in a long time as I did at my visit to Big Lots and Wal-Mart.

One person at Big Lots wondered if I was cold. As this is my 22 oz. Kilt, the answer was an unequivicol “no”. My lightweight Summer Kilts (mainly one of my King Kilts and my Amerikilt) are not in active use. He was impressed and understood that the kilt would be insulated for Winter use. Down at the Wal-Mart, I got lots of compliments which is odd because I shop there all the time, so I figure most folks are used to it, but then again Boise’s a big city, so I suppose every day I’m out much, somebody sees their first up-close man in a kilt.

Also, met someone from work. I didn’t recognize him from being from work. I apologized as there are more than 200 people on the same floor as me. I try and know the names of everyone whose under my supervisor and I know a few people on other teams, but there are so many I could never keep track of. The situation was somewhat awkward, but not too bad.

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Another Kilted Guy

Posted by Adam Graham on September 19, 2004

Two very brief other thoughts on the fair:

—I did not like the atmosphere coming into the park. One had a feeling that the Republican booth was but one small outpost in a sea of craziness. The music was ear-splitting. Netiher I, Mr. Seldon, or Commissioner Yzaguirre cared much for it. I don’t know about John though.

—I spotted another guy in a kilt and it wasn’t at a Highland Games. He was wearing an olive Utilikilt. He said that he tried to wear his kilt everyday, but didn’t always. He, like several other people asked me if I’d been to the recent Highland Games. Sadly, I missed them due to financial concerns and a conflicting church activity. I’ll make it next year, Lord willing.

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Fashionably Bad

Posted by Adam Graham on August 31, 2004

Today was bad fashion day at work. I decided to go all out in my efforts to look bad. I put more thought into look bad today then I do looking good on most normal days.

It begin with a shirt and kilt that didn’t match (Green Checkered Shirt/American Flag Kilt), add a sash from the Blackstock family (orange and green tartan), a blue Camo Sporran, and mismatched socks and shoes and I had the perfect(ly horrible) ensamble.

People at work were impressed by the thought I put into this. I did have to go a couple places after work, but it was cool. Today, it’ll be back to matching my clothes again. I don’t believe I got this much attention when I first started wearing my kilt to work.

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